April 21, 2024
How Long Does a Judgment Last in Florida?

by Denis Kleinfeld

In Florida, a judgment can last for up to 20 years. This makes it a strong way for creditors to chase debtors and collect what they owe. Knowing how long a judgment lasts is key for both creditors and debtors. It affects how long the judgment can be enforced and what it means for both parties.

A creditor can renew the judgment after 10 years for another decade. This means creditors can keep going after debtors to get the money back. They can do things like take part of your wages or take your property.

But, debtors should know their rights and what’s protected. Some things can’t be taken, and your main home is usually safe from judgment liens. If a debtor is really in trouble, filing for bankruptcy might help. It can mean a chance to start over financially.

This article will look at how long judgments last in Florida, including how to renew them, ways to enforce them, how they affect liens, and rules about time limits. Whether you’re trying to collect on a judgment or protect your assets, knowing these details about judgments in Florida is crucial.

Key Takeaways:

  • A judgment in Florida can last up to 20 years, giving creditors enough time to pursue debtors for what they owe.
  • After the first 10 years, a creditor can renew the judgment for another 10 years, making it last longer.
  • Creditors can use different methods to collect on a judgment, like garnishing wages and taking property.
  • Debtors should know about their rights and what can’t be taken, especially protections for their main home.
  • Bankruptcy can help debtors facing judgments to get a new financial beginning.

Understanding the Length of a Judgment in Florida

In Florida, a judgment lasts for 20 years. This lets creditors have enough time to collect debts. Debtors should know this to protect their assets well.

Creditors have 20 years to collect. They can take money directly from a debtor’s paycheck. They can also take the debtor’s property, like houses or cars.

A judgment can greatly affect a debtor’s finances. Ignoring it can harm credit scores and lead to losing valuable things.

Protecting Your Assets

To protect assets, debtors can:

  • Make a budget and find ways to pay off the debt.
  • Get advice from a bankruptcy lawyer for debt relief.
  • Talk to creditors early to avoid judgments.
  • Know about Florida laws that protect certain assets from being taken.

These steps can help debtors deal with judgments and secure their financial future.

“Being proactive and taking appropriate action is crucial in protecting your assets and mitigating the long-term consequences of a judgment.”
– Legal expert, Jonathan Williams

Florida Judgment Expiration Period

The enforceability of a judgment in Florida ends after 20 years. Then, creditors can’t collect the debt legally. But, judgments can be renewed for another 10 years before expiring.

This renewal lets creditors keep pursuing debtors. Debtors should know about this and get legal advice if needed.

Action Duration
Judgment Enforceability Period 20 years
Judgment Renewal Period 10 years

Knowing about judgment lengths in Florida is vital for both sides. Creditors can chase debts for a long time. Debtors need to protect their assets and seek good advice. This can help both sides make smart choices.

Renewing a Judgment in Florida

In Florida, creditors have a chance to renew judgments. This lets them extend the life of the judgment beyond the first 10 years. By filing for renewal, they get another 10 years to collect the debt owed.

With a judgment renewal, creditors can keep after debtors. They get more time to use methods like wage garnishment or taking assets. This makes it more likely they’ll get the money owed.

Creditors should act quickly to renew judgments before they run out. They need to file the right papers and pay fees at court. Acting in time lets creditors keep their right to chase down the debt.

The renewal process in Florida is pretty straight-ahead. However, it follows certain steps and deadlines. Creditors should talk to legal experts in debt collection for help. This ensures they follow the law and boost their chances of keeping the judgment valid.

Enforcement of a Judgment in Florida

In Florida, there are many ways creditors can collect debts. They follow state laws to ensure fairness. This helps both sides involved.

Garnishment of Wages

Wage garnishment is a common method. Creditors can take part of the debtor’s paycheck directly. There are limits to how much they can take. Debtors should know their rights and any exemptions to keep some income.

Enforcement of a Judgment in Florida

Seizure of Property

Creditors might also seize property. This could be personal items, cars, or real estate. But, some assets are safe due to exemptions. For example, a person’s main home might be protected in Florida.

Bank Levies

Creditors can use bank levies too. They can freeze a bank account and take funds. However, exempted funds like Social Security or child support are safe.

Action Description
Garnishment of Wages Collecting a portion of the debtor’s wages through their employer
Seizure of Property Taking the debtor’s property to satisfy the judgment
Bank Levies Freezing the debtor’s bank account and claiming the funds

“It’s crucial for debtors to be aware of their rights and exemptions under the law to prevent unnecessary loss of property or income.”

Dealing with a judgment in Florida needs care. Debtors should seek legal advice. They might negotiate or consider bankruptcy to protect rights.

Next, we’ll see how judgments affect Florida debtors and property liens.

Liens Resulting from Judgments in Florida

In Florida, a judgment against a debtor can lead to a lien on their property. This legal claim lets the creditor go after the debtor’s assets to pay off the debt. Liens from judgments affect both debtors and creditors deeply.

Once a judgment is recorded, it turns into a lien visible through title searches. Thus, anyone checking the property’s history will see the judgment. This can make selling or refinancing the property tough. The debtor might have to clear the debt first.

However, a judgment lien usually doesn’t force homeowners to sell their primary homes. Florida protects homestead property from such forced sales. But, selling the property means paying off the lien from the sale proceeds.

To illustrate this point, consider the following table:

Scenario Impact of Judgment Lien
Homestead property not sold No immediate foreclosure, but lien remains on the property
Homestead property sold Judgment lien can be paid from the proceeds of the sale

A judgment lien in Florida lasts for 10 years. Creditors can renew it for another 10 years, extending it to 20 years. This gives creditors more time to collect from the debtor’s property.

In summary, recording a judgment in Florida means a lien on the debtor’s property. This won’t usually lead to losing a homestead property immediately. But, it can make property deals complicated. Liens need clearing before sales or refinancing. Judgment liens last for 10 years but can be extended to 20 years.

Homestead Protections and Judgment Liens in Florida

In Florida, homestead protections are strong shields for homeowners. They protect properties from judgment liens, as stated in the Florida Constitution. These protections are essential against civil money judgments.

A judgment doesn’t automatically result in a lien on your primary home. This means a creditor’s win doesn’t mean they can instantly claim your home. It protects your residence from being taken easily.

However, homeowners should pay attention to their property status. Moving out or abandoning it can make it liable to liens. Once the property is no longer your primary home, it might be targeted.

Knowing your homestead rights is key. To keep your home safe, stay informed and ensure it stays qualified as a homestead. This knowledge lets you safeguard your most valuable asset, your home.

Homestead Protections in Florida

Bankruptcy as a Solution for Judgments in Florida

When you’re dealing with judgments in Florida, bankruptcy might be the help you need. It stops the chase from creditors. This means you can start over and make your financial situation better.

In Florida, you can clear most judgments by filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 sells some assets to pay off debts. After it’s done, many debts, like judgments, get wiped clean. This means you’re not on the hook anymore.

Chapter 13 is a bit different. It’s about making a payment plan that lasts 3 to 5 years. You pay back some debts but keep your things. When the plan ends, many remaining debts get cleared.

Bankruptcy gives you a break from creditors. No more wage grabs, bank freezes, or losing property. It’s a timeout that lets you plan your next step under court protection.

“Bankruptcy can give you a new start by stopping judgments against you.”

But, some judgments don’t go away with bankruptcy. Debts like child support or fines by the government stay. Also, fraud or certain crimes can’t be cleared this way.

Benefits of Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy can really help if you’re under judgment in Florida:

  • Immediate relief: Bankruptcy stops creditors right away, giving you breathing space.
  • Debt discharge: It erases judgments, freeing you from those debts.
  • Asset protection: You can keep important things like your house and car.
  • Stopping wage garnishment: It stops your earnings from being taken, so you can manage your money better.
  • Rebuilding credit: After bankruptcy, you get a chance to fix your credit score by being careful with your finances.

Talking to a qualified bankruptcy lawyer is key. They can help you see how bankruptcy affects you and if it’s your best choice.

Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Usually done in 4-6 months You make a plan to pay back debt in 3-5 years
Selling some assets pays off debts You keep your stuff but pay back some debt
At the end, many debts, including judgments, go away After the plan, most leftover debts get cleared

To sum it up, bankruptcy gives people with judgments in Florida a way out. It offers a pause on judgments. With Chapter 7 or 13, you can deal with debts, stop creditor stress, and get a fresh start.

The Statute of Limitations for Judgments in Florida

In Florida, you have 20 years to collect a debt. This means creditors can chase debtors for two decades to get payment. If 20 years pass, the judgment can’t be enforced anymore. But, there’s a catch. If a creditor renews the judgment before time runs out, they get another 10 years.

Both creditors and debtors must understand Florida’s judgment statute of limitations. Creditors need to know how long they have to collect. They must act in time to enforce their judgments. Debtors should know how long a judgment can impact them. They need to plan how to handle their finances with this in mind.

For creditors, renewing a judgment is key. Doing this before the original judgment expires can add 10 more years. This extra time allows creditors to keep going after debtors for payment. It’s a way to not lose out after the first 20 years are over.

Key Takeaways

  • The statute of limitations for collecting a debt in Florida is 20 years.
  • Creditors have up to 20 years to enforce a judgment and pursue debtors for payment.
  • Renewing a judgment before it expires can extend its enforceability for another 10 years.

Judgment Lifespan 20 years
Renewal Period 10 years


In Florida, judgment lifespan matters a lot. Creditors get 20 years to collect debts, giving them enough time. They can take actions like taking money directly from wages or grabbing properties. It’s vital for debtors to know their rights and options, such as bankruptcy, to protect their belongings.

Both sides must understand Florida’s rules on judgment limits and renewals. By keeping up-to-date and acting early, debtors avoid losses. At the same time, creditors better their chances of getting money back.

The judgment lifespan in Florida teaches us about being financially smart and legally sharp. Whether collecting debts or shielding assets, being well-informed and getting expert advice is key. It helps everyone handle Florida’s judgment rules confidently.


How long does a judgment last in Florida?

A judgment in Florida lasts for up to 20 years.

Can a judgment in Florida be renewed?

Yes, creditors can renew a judgment in Florida. This adds another 10 years to its life.

What actions can creditors take to enforce a judgment in Florida?

Creditors can garnish wages or seize property in Florida. This is to enforce a judgment.

Are there exemptions that protect a debtor’s assets from being taken to satisfy a judgment in Florida?

Yes, Florida has exemptions to protect a debtor’s assets. These prevent some assets from being taken to satisfy a judgment.

Can a judgment in Florida result in a lien on a debtor’s property?

Yes, a judgment can lead to a property lien in Florida. This happens when it’s recorded in the public records.

Are there any protections for homestead property against judgment liens in Florida?

Yes, homestead property in Florida is protected from judgment liens. However, this protection has its limits.

Is bankruptcy a solution for debtors facing judgments in Florida?

Bankruptcy can help Florida debtors by eliminating a judgment. It can also stop the enforcement and collection efforts.

What is the statute of limitations for collecting a debt in Florida?

The time limit for collecting a debt in Florida is 20 years.

What are the implications of the lifespan of a judgment in Florida?

The lifespan of a judgment in Florida affects creditors and debtors. It influences their ability to collect or protect their assets.